Category Archives: Barack Obama

All things that matter to President Obama, also matter to our children!

Grandma Heads Off To College: A Recession Era Tale

ImageGRANDMA HEADS OFF TO COLLEGE

A RECESSION ERA TALE

               I drove through the quiet, manicured suburban Roseville neighborhood I would no longer call home this morning. My swollen eyes and red splotchy face were the affirmation that I had made the right decision not to put on make-up after my morning shower. That was the last shower I would take as a permanent resident in my daughter’s home. At one point, my daughter knocked asking, “Are you OK Mom?” which I answered, “Yes” though I didn’t tell her I had been in the bathroom for an extra-long time this particular morning because I had been balling my eyes out while writing my two little grandchildren, Hudson (4) & Dayton (2) their good-bye, I will miss you cards. I also didn’t tell my daughter that the first time I walked into a drug store to buy a Thank You Card for their family, I started crying so much that I just had to leave!

Yes! Today is the day I headed off to college! Yet, unlike the eighteen year-old, I am leaving behind six of my eight grandchildren, two of my three daughters, my roses, the vegetable garden, most of my belongings (in storage), my two son-in-laws (who probably aren’t crying) and Baxter, my daughter’s ten year-old pug that may not live to my next visit. (I just realized that in my blubbering, that I forgot to say goodbye to Baxter!)

The impetus for my unstoppable fountain of tears is because I am leaving my youngest grandchildren whom I have lived with for most of their little lives. How will I get along without anyone to share with when I see a magnificent bird, an egg shell from a nest or a giant caterpillar? Who will be there to be just as amazed at the sunset as my little 2 year-old granddaughter Dayton, who asked me to pull the blinds up last night so she wouldn’t miss the “set-sun?” Who will care about whether or not the “owie” on my finger has healed yet? Who will be there to never tire of playing card games, like my three oldest grandsons?

Regardless of the monumental suffering these daily dilemmas and others will create for my aching heart, I had to leave! I had to leave for the very reasons my eighteen year-old granddaughter, Elora left her friends and family behind last year to head to college. If I didn’t leave, I would have the pressure of a poverty-stricken or very family dependent retirement looming large over my loved ones. I had to get my rear-end to graduate school quick!

This was never my plan, yet it was always an unspoken dream cast away after decades of repetitive mental reality checks every time I saw those enviable titles after someone’s name that I knew I could never compete with, no matter what I had accomplished in my life: MPH, PhD. EdD. MSW, etc…

If I listed the journeys I have taken to get to this moment, I would never get through this post, so I won’t. Briefly, after losing my home, my retirement, my marriage and with wages plummeting, I only had the hope to work for $12-15 hr. with little chance for benefits, if I worked in the field I Ioved, without those three initials. My daughter and her husband and 2 babies took me in and we have helped each other for the last 2 ½ years. I am so grateful for them and what they did to bring our family together. Truly one of the better outcomes of this recession has been the return of the extended family experience.

Grandiose plans to be a famous author and “child expert” six years ago were quickly dashed during the recession after I self-published my first book, The New Physics of Childhood (IUniverse, 2009).  Not only was it rejected by many because I did not have a credential behind my name like, PhD., MSW, EdD., etc. I realized that the tone of it (due to a lifetime of pent-up experiences) was somewhat arrogant and harsh. I began the rewrite immediately, along with edits by several professionals. Then the publishing industry took a dive and so did my income. It was time to set idealistic dreams aside and make way for Plan X.

Foreclosure, bankruptcy and divorce (in that order) were juxtaposed to my extinguished author dreams. I knew that the once well-paid work I had done earlier as a caregiver was a very temporary replacement and sabbatical to my teaching career, yet this job title had lasted for over a decade and seemed it was my only real option for earning income forever, unless I had a Master’s Degree! With a Master’s, I could finally earn the respect of my years, since wrinkles don’t show well on a resume. After researching and allowing the dream to simmer, I knew that a Master’s in Public Health was the only way for me. It would allow me to focus on my passion for Preventive Health Education, while also giving me incredible opportunities to influence public policy and the health of communities. It would also provide me with the potential for a real income and benefits so I can rebuild my life and my nest egg before I allow myself the luxury of retirement in my mid-70’s.

I could have never imagined that when everything was gone, save my beautiful family, that the only option was actually the dream I had so wanted, yet had never uttered or allowed myself to think of. This dream also occupies the same space as my dream to be a well-known and respected author one day. *

For now, the reality is one dream at a time! I prepared for two years by taking brush-up courses and using the time to finally become fluent in Spanish. All of my experiences and preparation in the last two and a half years got me accepted to the 3 programs I applied for! In August, I begin my journey in San Francisco State University’s MPH Program in Community Health Education. Yeah!!!!!!

I am saving money by couch-surfing for a month, while I work in my field of choice, in preparation for grad school. I am not thrilled about taking any student loans out and am hoping my second year in school is funded solely by scholarships and part-time work. I have a lot to accomplish professionally, and am committed to being a full participant in my graduate school experience.

During my undergrad career, I was a single mother raising three daughters. I had no time for friends or campus activities. All I wanted to do was race home to my daughters every day after school. The 3-hour commute to higher education ate up many precious hours with my daughters as it was. Now, I am one mile from campus and by myself to focus on school work, etc. Maybe I will even make some friends, something that hasn’t really been a part of my life with every second going to family. Though I am realistic enough to know that I won’t really have time to do much of this or to sit around and play cards while I am in grad school. However, I am already looking forward to visits “back home” to indulge my inner card playing junkie.

Yes, this day, this life, this new chapter is the perfect description of a bitter-sweet moment. I will miss my family in Roseville, but I will actually have more time with my youngest daughter and other grandson, now that I am closer to them.

Beyond the tears and tugging of little heart strings, life is good! I even received a $1,000 scholarship by a wonderful organization that felt compelled by my personal journey. Perhaps there are more angels like this in my future. I sure hope so, because as this Grandma heads off to college, I need all of the angels I can get, yet nothing will take the place of the beautiful family I have waiting for me when I return home after I receive my Master’s in Public Health! It will be the 1st. Master’s Degree in our family, just as my AA & BA were when I received them, years ago. I hope one day I can be an inspiration for my grandchildren so they know that it is never an option to give-up or give-in and that it is never too late for your dreams to come true!

*CONFESSION   – In the middle of preparing to leave for grad school, the writer in me just had to get that one last lick in! I formatted the 30+ years of my children’s stories and printed them out for my grandchildren to read in my absence. More on this project in future posts.

Hasta Luego!  Got places to go, things to do, people to see!

Christina Ivazes

aka Granny Pants

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Filed under Banks, Barack Obama, children, community, Education, Elders, foreclosure, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Granny Pants, health care, jobs, mother, Parenting, prevention, teaching, The New Physics of Childhood, Writing

If Bush Tax Cuts are so great, Where Are All of the Jobs They Are Supposed to Create?

bush

THE LEGACY CONTINUES

The short term memory of the American public often needs a jolt of history and there has  never been a more important moment than now to exterminate our amnesia. I would like to offer a view of the situation as I saw it evolving during the last administration.  People on Main Street were suffering from the toxic effects of the Bush administration’s economic policies much earlier than their radioactivity hit Wall Street and other investors.

For people on Main Street it went something like the chronological list below combined with imagined (though probably not too far from the truth) conversations among President Bush’s string pullers and other Republican power players:

• 1999-2000 The economy continues to soften after the dot-com bust.  
• Wages flatten
• September 11, 2001
• Voila’ a distraction from our economic woes
• A great way to capitalize on this American rally & create more profit for our wealthy base is to ramp up the war machine
• Anyone who opposes war becomes unpatriotic
• Go to war & keep the American public in a state of fear
• Don’t let the public see the real cost of the war by creating tax cuts for everyone
• Make sure the public believes that the tax cuts for the wealthy will stimulate jobs
• When this doesn’t work, hide the fact by lowering interest rates
• Promote “It’s patriotic to shop.”
• As Americans get a little more money in their hands & a lot more credit available to borrow, everyone experiences the illusion of wealth.
• Even the poorest Americans are swept up in the moment with credit they never had before!
• Poor people in America have big, shiny trucks, SUV’s & Hummers & own homes for the first time. Magically, many first time homebuyers even qualify for homes big enough for 3 families, complete with 3 car garages.
• Regulators turn a blind eye so a building boom can further disguise the true cost of the war and real weakness of our economy, just until the elite & savvy base can quadruple their wealth.
• All that matters is whether housing starts & the DOW are up; just hide the rest.
• Tax breaks for the rich are tasty as regulators sleep. The real clever rich hide more money in Swiss banks so they don’t have to pay taxes at all. This party looks like it will never end.
• Deficit grows further (but the true cost of the war still is not disclosed in the Bush budget; private contractors create an unknown factor that works to the advantage of the Bush policies).
• Let’s distract further and go after Saddam Hussein; we can buy a few more years from this one and no one will notice whether or not we find Osama Bin Laden if we catch Saddam Hussein.
• People protest
• Interest rates drop further.
• Let now become the best time to buy a house.
• It’s the best time to buy a big, new car.
“An Inconvenient Truth” is released.
• Consumerism starts to wane as conservation efforts multiply.
• Economic woes continue as the bubble starts to burst & consumers realize that too much debt & waste is not the key to happiness.
• Bush administration ignores the economic warnings, just until they get enough of that wealth stashed away.
• Election of 2008 takes place.
• Let the Democrats deal with this & let’s make sure they fall flat on their faces by depending on the American short-term memory.
• Obama reveals the true cost of war.
• Obama continues to shed light on the true American problems, removing the veil of illusion. (Of course, Obama cannot help but have some of the problem makers work with him to untangle the mess they made.)
.• Republicans find the best strategy to channel the anger at the true devastation to the American economy is to again, use distraction by igniting the witch hunt against Obama.
• Let’s make Obama the problem; let’s hide what really went on by allowing the Tea Party voices to drown out the truth once again. Fox News will help, which they do!
• Damn- we’re good!
• The perfect storm for the 2010 election now that the Democrats have been successfully characterized as the problem.
• And on and on and on………

So, my question is:

IF THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY ARE SO GREAT, WHERE ARE ALL OF THOSE JOBS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO CREATE ?

They never were meant to create jobs as much as they were meant to extend the free ride for those at the top in an act of  The Base self-preservation, protecting  investments with no strings attached. These tax cuts encouraged investors to seek haven outside the U.S. and outsource to increase profits.  Instead of job creation, tax cuts for the rich that are still in effect today continue the lifestyles of these rich and famous, like personal luxuries shown on the Today Show recently where $75,000 a pop did not seem to make these tax cut beneficiaries think much about job creation: “Gone in 180 Seconds” is how Neiman-Marcus  the run on 100 specially outfitted 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertibles from the luxury department store’s annual Christmas catalog.

So, for anyone on the fence about a candidate and all others, including  Tea Party candidates and Republicans who think that trickle down really works, think again! These policies have not worked. If they have, WHERE ARE ALL OF THOSE JOBS?  Perhaps the Fair Tax is what we need!

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Filed under #ClimateChange, Barack Obama, blogging, Election 2010, environment, Financial Crisis, Global Warming, Recession

Leno? Conan? The Real Score is: Media-2 Other Corporations-1 & Everyone Else-0 !

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NBC Wars - Just another Weapon of Mass Distraction with Media Taking the Ultimate Prize!

Well, as an American citizen, I have just about had it! Between the Supreme Court decision to allow a Pandora’s Box of financing to flow into the hands of Television & Radio Moguls for Campaign ads to the Contrived Drama between Jay Leno & Conan O’Brien that made light of overspending millions of dollars on his last show, I have one question for Americans:  

Don’t we need Schools & Teachers & Health Care & Jobs & Infrastructure & Renewable Energy? Don’t we need high-speed rail and insulated homes? Don’t we need lowered tuition so low & middle-income students can actually attend college? Don’t we need representatives that are more focused on doing their job than in raising money against bigger corporate influences?  

WHY ARE WE ENCOURAGING ALL OF THE MONEY THAT CORPORATIONS COULD BE USING TO FINALLY BECOME A LARGER PART OF THE SOLUTION TO INSTEAD, FUNNEL THESE BILLIONS TOWARDS MORE SELF-SERVING CAMPAIGN FINANCING? Didn’t we learn anything in the last 2 years? How will this help California’s financial rating? How will this help states gain funding and support for job growth?  

IF YOU DOUBT ME, JUST WATCH THE STOCK MARKET AFTER THIS RULING! I’M SURE IT WILL SHOOT BACK UP AFTER YESTERDAY’S DROP FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT OBAMA’S STIFFER BANK REGULATIONS. Now, investors can be comforted their interests will be maintained by “their” government representatives.

AT LEAST IT APPEARS THAT OBAMA IS BACK ON THE SIDE OF THE MASSES ONCE AGAIN & WE ARE WILLING TO SUPPORT HIM IF HE IS!

DOES THE AVERAGE AMERICAN REALLY HAVE ENOUGH TIME & MONEY TO TRY TO FIGHT & MATCH CORPORATE FINANCING JUST TO GET REPRESENTATIVES WITH THEIR INTERESTS IN OFFICE? I think not! This is an argument Newt Ginrich will lose in the long run! He is snowballing his followers once again for his own personal gain.  And don’t feed me that “Trickle-Down-Dung!” It hasn’t worked before and it will never work because most people with power get greedy and more self-serving the more privilege you give them! 

SHOULDN’T WE BE SPENDING OUR MONEY ON SOLUTIONS, NOT ON CAMPAIGNS?  

SHOULD UNIONS BE SPENDING MEMBER’S DOLLARS ON BUYING CANDIDATES? SHOULDN’T THESE MEMBER DUES BE DIRECTLY HELPING MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES INSTEAD?  

IS THIS WHY THE MEDIA DID NOT COVER THE LEAD UP AND THE DEBATE ON THIS ISSUE BEFORE IT WENT TO A VOTE?  IS THIS JUST ANOTHER WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION WITH THE NBC WARS & OVER-COVERAGE OF HAITI TO ALLOW THIS TRAVESTY?  

WHERE WAS NPR DURING ALL THE DEBATES ON THIS RULING? YES, NPR has also become subject to corporate interests and beating a dead horse with singular story distractions! I have been getting tired of the repetitive tunnel vision media coverage this past year and this takes the cake! My listener loyalty just shifted another place to the left and I don’t know if NPR is residing there! 

I AM SO FURIOUS AND DISTRAUGHT AND APATHETIC AND WORN OUT BY FIGHTING AGAINST THESE INFLUENCES AND NOW IT SEEMS THE GIANT JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT BIGGER AND BADDER TO FIGHT AGAINST!  This feels like the nightmares I used to have as a child where my mother and father would be fighting with pillows. His pillow would get bigger and bigger while hers would get smaller and smaller until poof! It was gone!  The voice of the voiceless just got smaller like those pillows. 

THANKS ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, FOX, TNT, & ALL OF THE OTHER TELEVISION AND RADIO NETWORKS WHO WILL BE THE ONLY ONES WHO TRULY PAD THEIR POCKETS WITH EVERY ELECTION AFTER THIS LATEST SUPREME COURT RULING . THOSE ADVERTISING DOLLARS JUST GOT THE ADRENALINE BOOST THEY NEEDED TO KEEP YOU IN BUSINESS!   Congratulations Rupert Murdoch! I am sure you and your peers are quite pleased with this ruling!  

NOW, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO MAKE SURE SCHOOL CHILDREN IN LOS ANGELES HAVE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH AND TEACHERS AND CLASSROOMS AND SUMMER SCHOOL TO KEEP THEM OFF OF THE STREETS?  

OR WILL YOU JUST INVEST YOUR PROFITS IN THE FUTURE OF PRIVATIZED PRISONS TO MAKE ALL OF THOSE PROBLEMS GO AWAY?  

As an American, I am so disgruntled with the warped priorities of popular culture that falls so gracefully into the hands of the manipulators, while ignoring the real important issues. The drama of the day seems to wipe the American conscience clean of all accountability or responsibility to insist we have a “fair and balanced” country. Shouldn’t we be heading in the other direction to make elections shorter, fairer and less expensive as they do in other countries like Australia?   Ahhhhh!!!!!!

Is There Anyone Out There That Can Help us??????http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKazKb5f79A

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Filed under #ClimateChange, 1, Barack Obama, children, environment, Granny Pants, health care, health+care+reform, prevention, social+networking

TIME TO MOVE FROM DIVIDE & CONQUER MANIPULATION TO COMMON GROUND FOR A WIN-WIN IN COPENHAGEN!!!

For passionate people like me, dangerous propoganda perfectly timed for sabotage is infuriating! As I listen to tidbits of media this week from NPR to Fox, I am appalled that the left has once againSarah Palin bought into this Divide and Conquer manipulation!

If there was ever a time to stop being sucked in to this manipulation and take the high road, the time is now. The time is now to REFOCUS on the COMMON GROUND we all share. We need to insist that our leaders and media spokespersons move away from expending energy on deflecting these distractions and that they insist on one direction only: strategizing towards WIN-WIN solutions!

Regardless of what anyone thinks about “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”, below are the talking points we should be focusing on during the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, because these points all effect the outcome that yes, does relate to the increase in global warming; but most importantly, these points Al Goreare the ones that are without a doubt, effecting our planet and need immediate attention:

* Overuse of plastics and non-recyclable plastics have produced oceanic waste in the magnitude of the infamous “plastic island” in the Pacific Ocean. This waste is not only threatening ocean species of all types, it is threatening humans through the food chain, increasing carcinogenic compounds in the fish we ingest. When plastic waste turns up in the carcasses of whales and other animals, fish, and birds, we need to start preventing this for everyone’s sake, no matter what a person’s country, political or religious preferences, we can all agree that a whale filled with plastic waste and oil sludge warrants regulation and preventive measures across the board. Plastic comes from oil, needs processing, produces pollution in the air, water, and land sources all throughout the life cycle. WE NEED REGULATION TO REDUCE  PRODUCTION OF PLASTICS AND NON-RECYCLABLE PLASTICS to PREVENT THE SPREAD OF TOXIC WASTE THROUGH LAND, WATER, SKY, AND FOOD SOURCES. If companies have not done this voluntarily up to now, we all know it won’t happen without regulation! CAP AND TRADE IS JUST A NIMBY SOLUTION THAT STILL EFFECTS THE WHOLE!

* When a company mines, or drills for oil or other natural resources anywhere in the world, regulations should be universal to prevent the poisoning of land, water, and air for the surrounding residents, workers, and the planet as clouds filled with toxins travel across the globe. WE NEED UNIVERSAL REGULATION OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES PRODUCED BY NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND MANUFACTURING TO PREVENT THE HEALTH RISKS TO SO MANY POPULATIONS, WHICH USUALLY END UP BEING LOW-INCOME POPULATIONS THAT CANNOT ADVOCATE FOR THEMSELVES. We can all Earthshots pollution photoagree that this is not correct or good business in the eyes of any religious leader, God, or whomever. Coal ash, while regulated to reduce the effect of “global warming”, becomes another toxin through land and water sources. We need consistent regulation of toxins throughout the life cycle, not piecemeal shifting from one place to another.

* TRASH IN ALL FORMS NEEDS GLOBAL REGULATION SO WASTE, ELECTRONIC OR OTHERWISE, IS NOT HAULED OFF TO POLLUTE ANOTHER COUNTRY AND ITS CHILDREN.  (Sending carbon under the ocean to make it seemingly disappear will come back to haunt us somewhere down the road, perhaps through aquifirs.) Third world countries handling the waste from industrialized countries once again will continue to be the victims as long as a global criteria is not created. These countries often burn this hazardous waste, which travels through the sky, polluting each one of our bodies in time, regardless of what planetary warming effect it may have. It is toxic and needs regulation!

polluted earth NYCTHESE THREE TALKING POINTS, WE CAN ALL AGREE NEED REGULATION AND SOLUTIONS.

JOBS ARE NEEDED TO CLEAN UP ALL OF THESE TOXIC MINE FIELDS FROM THE RIVERS OF TENNESSEE TO AFRICA, LATIN AMERICA, AND INDONESIA. These jobs can replace the ones that are polluting the planet!

Regulations to address these toxic threats to humanity that we can ALL agree on will also have the effect of reducing global pollution.

NEW AND EXISTING ENERGY PRODUCTION NEEDS REGULATION TO PREVENT THE ABOVE PROBLEMS, whether it be PREVENTING ASTHMA for a CHILD LIVING CLOSE TO THE LOS ANGELES HARBOR or preventing contaminated DRINKING WATER IN APPALACHIA OR INDIA, UNIVERSAL REGULATION TO REDUCE ALL POLLUTION from ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND MANUFACTURING PRACTICES WILL BE A WIN-WIN FOR ALL by LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD. This will PREVENT THE systematic MIGRATION OF TOXINS TO ANY OTHER COUNTRY AND PREVENT ANY LOCAL ECONOMY from BECOMING A STATISTIC due to the CURRENT STATE of UNREGULATED GLOBAL INDUSTRIES! 

THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA IS THE NEXT COUNTRY POISED FOR RAMPANT POLLUTING INDUSTRY BY CHINA AND INDIA IF WE DO NOT STOP THIS NOW!

LET’S START WITH WHAT WE CAN ALL AGREE ON AND GO FROM THERE AND STOP BUYING INTO THE DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTICS THAT A Family at the BeachARE JUST A DIVERSION FOR THESE DEEPER ISSUES THAT NEED GLOBAL SOLUTIONS AND REGULATIONS SIGNED BY ALL COUNTRIES NOW!

Me & Baby Manzanillo World Leaders, please take the high road! Our children are depending on you to do so!

Granny Pants

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Filed under 1, babies, Barack Obama, children, chimpanzee, Cimate Change Summit, Copenhagen, environment, Global Warming, Grandchildren, Jane+Goodall, media, nature, prevention, twitter, Writing

Twitter: Value or Vanity?

twitter bird iconWhy do I Twitter?

This is the question each Twitter user will eventually ask when they come to the crossroads of either adopting or dropping Twitter as a way of life. We all know the following: The ‘new toy’ syndrome is short lived if the function does not bring value or satisfaction. Early adopters will try just about anything if they can see value and potential, while at the same time popular culture will try just about everything because everyone else is doing it. Both will drop a new ‘trend’ just ask quickly as they adopt it if there is no lasting value.

I think I fit into the former category. However, because I am not a ‘techie’ I study new trends before I adopt a new habit, so perhaps I fit into a middle category. Regardless, I took my time to step into the world of Twitter.

The thought of another social networking site filled with boring narratives about mundane activity did not stimulate or inspire me. Who cares what we are doing from moment to moment? For me, these endless vacant narratives are the epitomy of narcissism and an endless pit of wasted time.

I didn’t need time wasters. I needed value before I would become a ‘user’. I also wanted to make sure I would be providing value to others. I wanted to make sure I would actually have something to say if people followed me and that I was not just taking up cyberspace or just another notch on a member’s Twitter tree.

Initially, when I entered the Twitter world, I was seduced by the ‘recommended’ list of people to follow, but this list proved to be boring and unrelated to who I am-regardless of the lure of  ‘celebrity Twitter potential’. Celebrity does not impress me unless there is philanthropic or inspirational value to the twitters of the celebrity, little of which was occurring in the celebrity twitters I explored.

After a seemingly futile first attempt at finding value in Twitter, I realized I could discover on a daily basis what the people I was interested in were doing, thinking, acting on, and recommending.

The doors of Twitter opened. Following the thoughts of the creative minds and innovative leaders of our time was the song that spoke to me. Now I am an official Twitter user. Perhaps what is evolving for middle of the road users like myself is a new level of social networking that moves from narcissism and the mundane to an ability to reach others of like mind with a more efficient model. This is what I have found social networking to offer. I admit that I am a late bloomer like many of my same-age peers because now, I find myself excited about the potential of this phenomenon called social networking. The evolution of this discovery came in waves and has gone something like this:

My politically active spirit wanted to know what our new mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson was up to every day! What is he really doing to improve our city’s image, economy, and quality of life? What is Gavin Newsom really up to in his race to Governor? Is his platform consistent with his SF mayorship? What is Jerry Brown doing with his time as California’s Attorney General? Is he focused on the governorship, or is he doing his job? What is the real future of the GOP up to, meaning Meghan McCain? Even though I am a Democrat, I believe Meghan McCain is the only current hope for the Republican party to gain the moderate Republican and youth vote. She exhibits common sense and hasn’t jumped on the irrational and hateful bandwagon that has recently hijacked the GOP.

Twitter gives me answers to these political questions on a daily basis.

And for a creative spirit that loves to be inspired, I follow ‘Etsy’ and other fun sites that update me on the latest creative inventions in DIY ideas.

Social networking entrepreneurs inform me on current trends and beneficial tech. functions that have the potential to enhance my business. Yes, Twitter has become a marketplace in many respects. The difference is that we choose who we market to and who markets to us. There is mutual agreement.

The eternal hunger to have an input system of media checks and balances sent me in search of ‘my’ reliable media sources on Twitter like DemocracyNow.org, Tavis Smiley, Treehugger (recognized by a Webby nomination in 2009), and whitehouse.gov (for the entire uncut, unfiltered version of our President’s speeches). Through Twitter I receive regular updates about newsworthy events that may never make it to mainstream television or popular internet media! The sites I have chosen to follow save me time; their ‘tweets’ dial in what I really want to know about: the behind the scenes events and activities of our time.

Then, there are those who are living a like-minded reality to mine. Many environmentally and socially conscious people and organizations have worthy businesses, blogs, and products that offer solutions for children, families, and global culture. By following these people on Twitter, I consider myself a helpful catalyst for their success while I continue to inform myself through their perspectives and industry progress. ( http://twitter.com/CWAE , http://twitter.com/askthedoula , http://canadian-natural-mama.blogspot.com/ ,  http://twitter.com/greenOD ,  http://twitter.com/Unnecesarean  are a few of my faves. ) Though as with everything, I found out through trial and error that there is a filtering process to following anyone if you want to prevent corporate driven information!  I learned to block people who were just interested in marketing to me or increasing their follower base. I learned to use key words and my own filtering methods to find like-minded users.

Today, Twitter has become a way for me to create my own media site in real time that is faster and richer than Facebook.  I receive the news and ideas on innovation that I want to hear, not what a corporation wants to feed me. I decide who I trust to give me information.

Twitter has given me more control over the media and information I am exposed to by my own design and I like it!

I spend less time on fruitless, mindless browsing as a result. I am more productive and more informed about what I care about, but I had to figure out how to actually make Twitter reflect my values before this value showed up!

OKAY, this does sound like a Twitter Promo, doesn’t it? I guess it’s just my way of saying Hooray! What could have been a fleeting trend has actually turned out to be a useful tool. This post will probably not change the minds of any current tweeters or savvy social networkers, but perhaps it will give the sceptics a different view of Twitter possibilities. For those who continue to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane,  C’est la vie!

Good luck in finding your own social networking value. If you are curious, you can check out who I follow on Twitter (which interestingly, are very different from my Facebook friends) @ http://twitter.com/GrannyPants. Some of those I follow have very informative twitters, others are merely a connection to maintain, but most importantly, all are by choice!

Christina Ivazes

a.k.a. Granny Pants

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated and have not been paid or rewarded by any entity of Twitter in any way. I also reserve the right to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane if I so choose.

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Filed under 1, Barack Obama, blogging, environment, Granny Pants, media, mother, nutrition, Parenting, social+networking, twitter

LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER: A MODERN DAY STORY

 

 

Dear Sara,

 

As your mother, I have many regrets.  If only I could have taught you a few more things before you headed out in the world on your own.  (I guess I had to learn them first myself before I could teach them to you!) Despite these many untaught lessons, you have done quite well for yourself: successful careers, financial responsibility, loved by all, great husband, wonderful new baby boy, and now your first house.

 

In fact, you have done so well that you were the one who gave me my first lessons on office protocol, the ways of the business world, internet dating, and the value of Craigslist.  Although it felt strange at the time, I accepted your help and trusted your judgment, always, which has proven to be good. 

 

What an inverse era we finds ourselves in, when children teach their parents the nuances of resumes, job searches, and career choices.  I know I am not alone in this experience.  Millions of mature adults such as myself are forced to enter and re-enter the work force after years in a singular field. We are up against masses of youthful competition and our children often have a window into how to compete with their peers, providing us with the updated knowledge we need to succeed.  It’s like we’ve raised our own little resource directories that give us free regular updates.

 

Now, years have passed and the winds of usefulness have shifted, once again in my direction.  Most recently with your first pregnancy, childbirth, as a new nursing mother, and now as a new homemaker, you have found new value in what I can offer you.  The things I always wanted to share with you, the wisdom I knew I had to offer you, has finally found its day.  In my pride as I witness you as a new and wonderful mother, it feels like you see me with new eyes with every question or favor you ask. Your motherhood has transformed our relationship.

 

 

The nurturing experiences from our mothers will always transcend the value of fast pace, technical toys, and current school of thought in any given era. In our new era, I am here to offer you time tested remedies, sagacious secrets, resplendent recipes, and common sense practices that will outlast every parenting trend, marketing miracle, or latest medical advancement. 

 

My experience as your mother has evolved from that stressful and fumbly first bath while I tried to gently wash all of the folds in your chubby little neck, to the fears of the many responsibilities in the world I found myself in one day—on my own—with you and your two sisters.  Today, as you give me my seventh grandchild, I sense that all of the maternal encounters of my past will serve you well and overshadow any lack of business savvy I may still suffer from. 

 

As your own motherhood evolves, remember that whatever question you ask, or favor you need, that for me, it is a blessing to again be able to give you an answer, a suggestion, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to cry on. 

 

Not so long ago, I used to be zipping up your coat and tucking your cherub cheeks into your hat before you headed out of the house into the biting Colorado weather. Today, as your mother, I find so much joy in tucking your son’s sweet cheeks into the cozy hat I made for him so he too, can feel the warmth of my love for you both. 

 

I may not have all of the answers; I may not make the best choices in every aspect of my life; I may not respond perfectly in every situation; but one thing is a constant: my love and commitment to my children, grandchildren, husband, and other loved ones.  In this, I hope to never let you down Sara.

 

With cherished anticipation of all we have yet to share and give to each other in our many future moments, I Bless you Sara with goodness and wish you the most Awesome Birthday and Best Year Yet in your new home!   

 

Love, Mom

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Filed under Barack Obama, Breastfeeding, Craigslist, Grandchildren, Internet Dating, La Leche League, mother, nutrition, Parenting

The Power of Words to Inspire A Call To Action

That passionate artery of mine was flowing freely as I received my invite along with thousands of others this week. I became part of yet another Obama inspired online movement: The Citizen’s Briefing Book.

Actually, intending just to sit down and edit my manuscript, I committed the cardinal crime: I checked my email first. There it was, an invitation from Valerie Jarrett asking us to contribute ideas for President-elect Obama. Much like going to the grocery store hungry, this invitation fed me unlike past ones sent to Obama supporters since the election.  Without hesitating, I jumped in with the others that evening, voting on ideas for the president elect like filling my grocery basket, hoping each of my choices would make it into the book of ideas from us, his loyal supporters because this Citizen’s Briefing Book will be given to him to read.

How could I also make a statement that would encourage votes for my idea so it would make it into this book that that our future President Obama would read? With ravenous furvor, I typed a proposal that has been at the forefront of my thoughts for years as well as the main inspiration for the book I am writing.  In fulfilled haste, I proofread my idea for our next president and sent it off into cyberspace with the thousands of other worthy ideas, watching with baited breath to see what happened.

To my surprise, negative votes and posted comments started rolling in. Flush with concern, I realized instantly the error was in my word choice.  In the end, there was a (negative)-320 points with 14 posted comments.  I had used the word ‘mandate’, where I should have used ‘campaign’. This error contorted my message and inspired a call to action in the form of  inflammatory comments and negative votes. 

Curious as to what would happen if the wording was changed ever so slightly, I clarifyied my proposal by replacing the word ‘mandate’ with ‘campaign’, and shifted the title’s wording somewhat.

Without the word ‘mandate’, this revised idea gained positive votes slowly but surely, yet prompted no comments. In the end, it had a (positive)+490 points with only 1 comment.

What does this prove? Yes, anger does inspire action more than just a great idea.  A vote was easier than a vote with another step to write a comment, but if you were angry about the possibility of something you didn’t like becoming a reality, you jumped into action. In the end, the reception of my idea was positive and helped me find the pulse on how to communicate ideas more effectively.

As a postscript, I might just entertain the idea to inflame when I want to inspire a call to action; negative publicity really does work. (Kidding, I think.) Perhaps this is why so many of us came out in full force when John McCain picked Sarah Palin for his VP. 

What was my idea?

“Prevent Diabetes Where it Starts!” 

Beginning with a massive ‘campaign’ to encourage and support all mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least six months, thereby reducing the propensity towards obesity with infant formulas made with high fructose corn syrup, etc. 

To read the entire idea, go to: http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000004wI6&srPos=0&srKp=087   

Let’s see if it makes it into the Citizen’s Briefing Book to President Obama.  For the sake of our country, our health care system, and our children, I hope so!

Christina Ivazes

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